Wednesday, July 15, 2009

100 Hats – A Challenge

About one year after I learned how to knit there was a homeless man in the same subway car as me. It was about a week before Christmas. I felt really bad for the gentleman - everyone was starting at him. He wasn’t trying to offend anyone. But he was dirty and smelly -- and really cold. As I clutched my first hand knit scarf closer, I had the thought that he probably needed the scarf more than I did. But I was just getting over a bad cold and didn’t want to risk the cold December winds on my neck. I even contemplated giving him my hat and keeping the scarf for myself. But as the train pulled into 42nd Street, my selfish human nature gave in and I just got off the train. I will always remember this.

In remembering this homeless gentleman, I have issued a challenge to myself and my friends. Knit 100 hats by Thanksgiving. I called New York Cares to see if they would accept a bunch of hats with their coat drive and they agreed. The hats can be knit out of any material, any style and any size. I encourage you to use any left over yarn you may have and be creative. No need to spend a lot of money. I would also encourage you to remember that these hats will most likely be going to someone who won’t have the necessary equipment to take care of a cashmere or silk hat. Most likely these hats will be worn until they are worn out (or even longer.) Pattern Central has an extensive list of free hat patterns here.

Don’t want to knit a hat? Don’t want to fuss with that pesky shaping? How about a scarf instead? Want to learn how to do a thumb gusset? Try a pair of mittens? Just want to knit in the round? How about a neck cowl? It doesn’t need to be fancy, just warm. This could be a great opportunity to learn a new technique you’ve been meaning to take a stab at.

Annie & Co. Knitting agreed to act as drop off location for finished objects. Just tell a staff member when you drop it off that it is for the Hats for Homeless program. The staff will know to hold it for me.

My goal is to have 100 hats by this Thanksgiving. And for Thanksgiving 2010 – 200 hats! I know with your help I can do it. It’s always a great feeling to give back. And this is something we can do to lend a hand -- not half way around the world, but around the block.

If you have any questions or need an address to send the hats to contact me at